Skip to main content

Full text of "The Gay Genius"

See other formats

98                                THE GAY GENIUS

"If the people oŁ the country are rich, does a ruler ever have to
worry about his private wealth? ... I do not know, when Your
Majesty speaks about enriching the country, whether you are speak-
ing about enriching the people or enriching your own purse.

"In all things, great and small, one should not depend on force,
but must observe reason and the nature of things. For in all things
done according to reason one is bound to succeed, and in all under-
takings against reason one is doomed to fail. Now Your Majesty
has compelled the farmers to pay you high interest, and you have
entered into competition with business-men for profits. Is this in
accordance with nature, and do you wonder that it has failed? . . .
If Your Majesty has the welfare of the people truly at heart, the
people would show confidence in you despite all rumours; but if you
are going only after revenue, the people can hardly be convinced
by words. If a judge receives presents from a defendant and lets
himself be influenced in his decision, people will say that he has
been bribed; and if a man takes what does not belong to him people
will call him a thief. That would only be calling a thing by its right
name. Now, you are receiving twenty per cent interest from die
farmers' loans, yet you insist that you are not making these loans
for interest. How are the people to believe you? ... A man is con-
demned by his acts and not by what he professes to do. ... All this
commotion is because the whole country is coming to believe that
Your Majesty is looking for the revenue, while you maintain
that you are working only for their good. While you insist that
you are totally disinterested, the whole world thinks that you are*

He advised the Emperor on a course of caution.

"Sometimes a man falls from a horse in his youth and never dares
to ride again all his life. . . . Bent on a mad rush for drastic reforms,
you have started the farmers5 loans, instituted the draft exemption
tax, started the national trade bureau, shifted the army units. You
are determined to carry these through against all criticism, but should
you find out die error, then, when you have good policies to carry
out in the future, you will have lost all self-confidence. . . . Your
Majesty started the reign with the high hopes of youth, gifted with
high intelligence and determination, and if your ministers should
fail to advise you now to take the path of steadiness and caution,
you would be like a man dashing over dangerous terrain in a light
coach^ on a dark night with the coachman lashing the horse. Might
it not be far better if Your Majesty would ease the reins, feed the